Mystery of Edwin Drood

PG
Stuart Walker, 87 mins, USA, 1935, 35mm, B&W. Source: BFI. Courtesy: NBC Universal.

Mystery of Edwin Drood
Mystery of Edwin Drood
At the height of its fame for producing quality 'monster' pictures with studio actors such as Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, Hollywood's Universal Studios adapted Dickens' last, unfinished novel into a moody mystery thriller.

Claude Rains is the inscrutable, tightly coiled, but ostensibly well-to-do and thoroughly respectable, John Jasper. After hours, Jasper is an obsessive opium addict given to feverish dreams and desperate to escape the grinding 'cramped monotony' of his life, who becomes morbidly infatuated with his nephew's eighteen-year-old fiancée.

Universal's screenwriters devised an unambiguous dénouement to reveal the fate of Jasper's ill-fated nephew, Edwin Drood, in place of Dickens' allusive ending.

Director Stuart Walker incorporated some of the tropes of Universal's horror genre house style in his approach to the film's cinematography, choice of music score and in the casting of Rains, a veteran of earlier horror films The Invisible Man (1933) and The Clairvoyant (1934).

In his New York Times review published in 1935, Andre Sennwald declared: "This cinema is good Dickens and a genuinely fine horror story in the bargain".
Dates   Tue 21 Aug 2012, 6.30pm
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